The 28th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Announces Film Lineup

The Two Gay Geeks received this press release form our friends at David Magdael & Associates about the 28th Annual Hot Springs Film Festival. As everyone knows, we are high fans of film festivals and independent creators. This lineup of films looks to make this year a great success.

This is the longest running all documentary film festival in the US.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below. As always, we welcome your feedback and input on all of our published content. Thank you.

 



 

The Most Acclaimed Nonfiction Films Of The Year To Unspool at
The 28th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival,
the Longest Running All-Documentary Film Festival in North America
October 18 – 26, 2019

 
September 25, 2019 (Hot Springs, Arkansas) – The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF), the longest running all-documentary film festival in North American, announced today the slate of feature films that will screen as part of the 28th edition of the annual Hot Springs, Arkansas festival.

The HSDFF is lead primarily by working filmmakers who are crafting an inclusive festival of a diverse group of documentary filmmakers from across the globe.

“Our programs are designed by and for filmmakers and it is our hope that our festival will inspire, support, challenge and rejuvenate our attending industry guests,” says Executive Director, Jennifer Gerber. “This year we are growing our filmmaker development programs with the goal of HSDFF becoming a central meeting place for independent documentary filmmakers in this Southern region.”

Highlights from this year’s slate include:

17 BLOCKS – directed by Davy Rothbart – Tribeca Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner; FOR SAMA – directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts – Cannes Film Festival Best Documentary/SXSW Grand Jury Prize Winner; KIFARU – directed by David Hambridge – Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize/Full Frame Audience Award; THE KINGMAKER – directed by Lauren Greenfield – World Premiere Venice International Film Festival; ONE CHILD NATION – directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang – Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner; LOS REYES – directed by Iván Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut – IDFA Special Jury Award; VARDA BY AGNES the final film from legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda.

“Our goal is to showcase award winning documentaries while pushing the program forward with bold and challenging films,” says Director of Programming, Jessie Fairbanks. “When curating the program it is of great importance that the filmmakers invited to present at Hot Springs are diverse in background, experience, and representation. I am delighted to announce our final program will include 64 documentary features and 59 shorts. In the Feature documentary category we have over 50% female directors; a program of true equality.”

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival programming team includes Abby Sun, Programmer; Robert John Torres and Robin Robinson, Assistant Programmers; and Director of Programming, Jessie Fairbanks.

The complete lineup is below. Opening, Closing and Centerpiece announcement will be made next week. For more information, please visit www.hsdfi.org.
 

US Documentaries


 

THE APOLLO

Dir. Roger Ross Williams
Internationally renowned for having influenced American and pop culture more than any other entertainment venue, the Apollo Theater created opportunities for new talent to be seen and has served as a launchpad for myriad artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and more.

AUTONOMY

Dir. Alex Horwitz
A brave new world awaits us in this engrossing investigation of technology and the ethics of self-driving cars — will they will control us or set us free?

BEDLAM

Dir. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
Over a period of five years, a psychiatrist visits homeless camps, emergency medical facilities, and jails tracking the lives of individuals suffering from debilitating mental illness.

CHANGING THE GAME

Dir. Michael Barnett
Transgender high school athletes from across the country compete at the top of their fields, while also challenging the boundaries and perceptions of fairness and discrimination.

CIRCUS OF BOOKS

Dir. Rachel Mason
Karen and Barry Mason are the typical American parents — with the exception of owning and operating the infamous LA gay porn book store, Circus of Books.

FUNNY YOU NEVER KNEW

Dir. Andrew Hunt
The pioneering comic genius of 1950s live television era superstars Imogene Coca, George Gobel, and Martha Raye take center stage in this crowd-pleasing tribute.

HARVEST SEASON

Dir. Bernardo Ruiz
An elegant panoramic portrait of the multitude of Mexican-American winemakers and migrant workers who are the quiet driving force behind the premium California wine industry.

HUMAN NATURE

Dir. Adam Bolt
An unprecedented gene engineering tool known as CRISPR presents the biggest scientific breakthrough of the modern era, holding the potential to edit human DNA — but at what cost?

JUMP SHOT: THE KENNY SAILORS STORY

Dir. Jacob Hamilton
Meet Kenny Sailors, inventor of the jump shot, whose “leaping one-hander” changed the game of basketball forever.

KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL

Dir. Amy Goldstein
An unvarnished, behind-the-scenes look at the creative life and professional struggles of British singer-songwriter Kate Nash.

LOVE, ANTOSHA

Dir. Garret Price
The sterling talents and mercurial spirit of the late actor Anton Yelchin are remembered by his closest friends and family in this joyful, bittersweet eulogy.

MADE IN BOISE

Dir. Beth Aala
This deeply empathetic and eye-opening peek at the burgeoning business of surrogacy in Boise, Idaho follows four gestational surrogates and their intended parents.

MAKING WAVES: THE ART OF CINEMATIC SOUND

Dir. Midge Costin
Meet the sound designers responsible for creating the cinematic soundtrack to some of your favorite films, while learning about their creative process and how they collaborate with renowned directors.

MIKE WALLACE IS HERE

Dir. Avi Belkin
An unflinching look at the legendary reporter Mike Wallace, who interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures during his 50 years on air and whose aggressive reporting style and showmanship redefined what Americans could expect from broadcasters.

MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE

Dir. Richard Lowenstein
A bold collage of electrifying performance footage and intimate home videos paint a tender, illuminative portrait of the iconic INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence.

NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY

Dir. Elizabeth Carroll
At 96, Diane Kennedy is a legendary chef and author, whose razor sharp intellect, fabulous taste, and cutting wit are beautifully captured in this homage to her lifelong quest to preserve Mexican cuisine.

PIZZA, A LOVE STORY

Dir. Gorman Bechard
New Haven, Connecticut is home to three of America’s top ranked pizza restaurants, and they’re all located within a six block radius of each other.

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

Dir. Janice Engel
Few journalists have left a legacy so profound and sharply funny as Texas’ Molly Ivins, whose acerbic insights into the political process are revived in this biography.

RINGSIDE

Dir. Andre Hormann
In this emotional gut-punch of a boxing documentary, two young Chicago men fight to survive both professionally and personally.

RUNNER

Dir. Bill Gallagher
Guor Marial’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks, as he strives for athletic greatness.

THE CONDOR AND THE EAGLE

Dir. Clement Guerra
This epic journey connects four Indigenous leaders across North and South America as they seek to connect, empower their communities, and find solutions to combat environmental disasters.

THE DOG DOC

Dir. Cindy Meehl
Called a maverick, a miracle-worker, and a quack, Dr. Marty Goldstein, a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine, provides a last hope for pet owners with nothing left to lose by holistically treating animals after other vets have given up.

THE STORY OF PLASTIC

Dir. Deia Schlosberg
As plastic pollution continues to be a world-wide problem that can’t be solved by recycling alone, scientists and activists challenge corporations pushing single-use plastic consumerism.

TRIXIE MATTEL: MOVING PARTS

Dir. Nicholas Zeig-Owens
Trixie charmed audiences and judges as winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, but the grind of performing and the pressure of the title proves that heavy is the head that wears the tiara.
 

International Documentaries


 

CACHADA – THE OPPORTUNITY

Dir. Marlén Viñayo
Five women from El Salvador break through the cycle of generational abuse in this poignant exploration of the power of participatory, community theater.

CHINA LOVE

Dir. Olivia Martin McGuire
Take a fantasy ride through contemporary China as we explore the billion-dollar pre-wedding photography industry.

DIVE: RITUALS IN WATER

Dir. Elín Hansdóttir, Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir, Hanna Björk Valsdóttir
A visionary swimming coach encourages infants to swim underwater long before they can crawl, walk, or talk, Snorri Magnússon’s unconventional teachings provokes outrage, engenders parental trust, and leads to miracles underwater in this cinematic and engrossing profile.

FLOAT

Dir. Phil Kibbe
An insider’s look at the F1D World Championships for free flight model airplanes, whose balance is threatened when a newcomer joins the competition.

FOR SAMA

Dir. Waad Al-Khateab, Edward Watts
A harrowing and unforgettable autobiographical portrait of a woman’s life over five years during the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as told to her infant daughter, Sama.
 


HOPE FROZEN

Dir. Pailin Wedel
A Thai family cryopreserves their two-year-old daughter following her death from cancer — are they deluded or prescient in their attempt to escape fate?

THE KINGMAKER

Dir. Lauren Greenfield
In Lauren Greenfield’s searing new film on the implacable “Mother” of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos plots her family’s grand return to power.

KIFARU

Dir. David Hambridge
An intimate look at the extinction of the northern white rhino through the eyes of two Kenyan caretakers charged with protecting Sudan, the last remaining male.
 


LOS REYES

Dir. Iván Osnovikoff, Bettina Perut
The lives of two stray dogs, Football and Chola, are captured over a period of two years as they make their home inside an urban skate park in this unconventional canine documentary.

LOVE CHILD

Dir. Eva Mulvad
A poignant portrait of forbidden lovers, who escape to Turkey with their secret child; desperate to start a new life they find themselves stalled in bureaucratic limbo.

MEETING GORBACHEV

Dir. Werner Herzog, André Singer
The life of Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final President of the Soviet Union is carefully explored in Werner Herzog’s loving tribute to his old friend.

MIDNIGHT FAMILY

Dir. Luke Lorentzen
Set in Mexico City, this propulsive nocturnal drama follows the Ochoa family who operate an independent for-profit emergency ambulance within the country’s shockingly underserved healthcare system.

MOTHER

Dir. Kristof Bilsen
A deft exploration of the concepts of identity, memory, and what it means to be a mother through Pomm, a Thai caregiving who cares for other families, while supporting her own children from afar.

MR. JIMMY

Dir. Peter Michael Dowd
Rock out to the music of the mercurial Japanese Jimmy Page impersonator and superfan, Akio Sakurai, who moves to California to join a Led Zeppelin tribute band.

ONE CHILD NATION

Dir. Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
After becoming a mother director Nanfu Wang explores the ripple effect of China’s devastating One Child Policy, uncovering shocking human rights violations as well as her own family’s complicity, and the liability of American adoptive families.
 


OUR TIME MACHINE

Dir. S. Leo Chiang, Yang Sun
The Shanghai-based artist Maleonn races against time to stage an elaborate, magical, and moving autobiographical play for his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

RIGHT TO HARM

Dir. Annie Speicher, Matt Wechsler
An essential investigation into the impact of factory farming across the US, and what affected communities have courageously done in response.

SEAHORSE

Dir. Jeanie Finlay
When a transgender man decides to carry his child himself, the pregnancy prompts an unexpected and profound reckoning with conventions of masculinity, self-definition, and biology.

SHOOTING THE MAFIA

Dir. Kim Longinotto
Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia spends her career documenting the life and crimes of the Mafia with intimate details and stunning insight.

VARDA BY AGNES

Dir. Agnes Varda
An unpredictable documentary from a fascinating storyteller, Agnès Varda’s final feature documentary sheds light on her experience as a director, bringing a personal insight to what she calls “cine-writing.”
 


WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED

Dir. Mariam Ghani
The story of Communist-era Afghanistan and lives under fire, told through a recently uncovered treasure trove of five unfinished films, all based on real, unfiltered life.

WHAT WILL BECOME OF US

Dir. Steven Cantor
Sir Frank Lowy, self-made billionaire and founder of Westfield Corporation, must decide if he should sell the company he’s built since 1953 or continue his life work.

WILD HONEY

Dir. Ava Porter, Farhad Akhmetov
The harmonious universality of musical expression is explored in this rapturous ethnographic look at traditional folk music in five different regions of Russia.

YOUR TURN

Dir. Eliza Capai
With kinetic energy and infectious empowerment, three young Brazilian activists fight for an education and affordable transportation, their experiences, passions, and fears immediate, relevant, and all-pervading.
 

Southern Documentaries


 

17 BLOCKS

Dir. Davy Rothbart
Filmed over the course of 20 years, the tight-knit Sanfords live 17 blocks from the US Capitol. Struggling with addiction, poverty, and gun violence, an unexpected tragedy leads to a journey of love, loss, and acceptance.

ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS

Dir. Jenifer McShane
Two San Antonio police officers challenge long-held police practices for dealing with the mentally ill.

GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH

Dir. David Charles Rodrigues
In response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws and the divisive 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South.

GUEST HOUSE

Dir. Hannah Dweck, Yael Luttwak
Three women overcome their opioid addiction with the support of a re-entry house in this inspiring and hopeful portrait of human resilience.

JADDOLAND

Dir. Nadia Shihab
A young filmmaker returns to her mother’s dazzling artistic haven in Lubbock, Texas to explore three generations of their Iraqi family in this intimate, reflective portrait.

MEN & WOMEN OF DISTINCTION: GOVERNOR MIKE BEEBE

Dir. Kathryn Tucker
Featuring politics from a by-gone era, this profile of the incredible career and commendable public service of former Governor Mike Beebe charts one man’s efforts to create lasting change for Southern communities.

MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL

Dir. Alexander Glustrom
The inhabitants of Mossville, once a thriving, historically black community, have all been uprooted due to contamination and pollution by petrochemical plants — except for one mighty man who refuses to relinquish his family’s land.

PAHOKEE

Dir. Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas
Four teens face heartbreak and celebrate in the rituals of an extraordinary senior year in a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, where hopes for the future are concentrated on the youth.

QUALIFIED

Dir. Jenna Ricker
Inside the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis 500, where the laps separate footnotes from legends, Janet Guthrie — the first woman to attempt Indy — had to do it with unprecedented scrutiny.

SEADRIFT

Dir. Tim Tsai
A Gulf Coast community is haunted by racist tensions from 40 years ago, when a Vietnamese refugee shot and killed a white crab fisherman.

STATE OF THE ART

Dir Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
A journey of artistic discovery…100,000 miles, 1,000 destinations in search of 100 under-recognized American artists for one unforgettable exhibition – here are the stories of seven of the artists from the groundbreaking exhibit at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas.

WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAURS

Dir. Clayton Brown, Monica Long Ross
A charged conversation between evangelical creationists and scientific-leaning secularists unfolds as a massively scaled Noah’s Ark theme park is built in Williamstown, Kentucky.

WELL GROOMED

Dir. Rebecca Stern
The creative and colorful world of competitive dog grooming is presented in this charming documentary that follows four champion groomers.
 

Festival All-Access Passes are available for $400, plus processing. All passes can be purchased through the festival website www.hsdfi.org. General Admission tickets & Passes will be available for sale by September 27th.

About The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Deep within the Ouachita Mountains, in what Native Americans have named the Valley of the Vapors, amidst turn-of-the-century bathhouses and on the doorstep of a national park lies the unforgettable spa city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, host to North America’s oldest all-documentary film festival. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will celebrate its 28th Anniversary October 18-26th at the historic Arlington Hotel in downtown Hot Springs.

Hosted by America’s “First Resort” and held in a national park , the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is a culturally diverse and intergenerational event. The city’s colorful past as the 1930’s playground of Al Capone lingers in the air amidst the majestic turn of the century buildings that make up Bathhouse Row. In the 1950’s, Hot Springs served as the boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival had an auspicious beginning in 1991 with the screening of 10 Academy Award® -nominated documentary films. Actor James Whitmore lent his presence to this first event and spoke of a bright future for HSDFF. The following year, James Earl Jones announced, “I see the 1990’s as holding the promise of an unparalleled era of popularity for nonfiction film, with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as one of the genre’s most important venues.” Mr. Jones’ predictions have come to pass, as both the documentary genre and HSDFF continue their upward trajectories.

Each year, with the help of a small staff and over 100 dedicated volunteers, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the nine-day multicultural event. Now approaching its 28th year as the oldest all-documentary festival in North America and one of the longest running non-fiction festivals in the world, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival remains a prominent champion and protector of the documentary film genre.

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival offers an extraordinary mix of documentary features and shorts, both domestic and international, as well as exclusive film panels, tributes to industry greats, and local access to a host of celebrity guests and visiting professionals. Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is a designated Oscar-qualifier in the category of Documentary Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


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